Here's something to ponder.

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Katie H

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Here is an eye opening observation, at least to me.

Our household includes Glenn and me, along with 2 pooches and 2 kitties.

In June we discontinued our commercial trash pick-up. Instead, we opted to get two 55-gallon metal barrels to burn our waste, save glass and metal/cans. Still working on what to do with those.

While I understand this won't apply to those who have burn barrel restrictions, I thought this might be of some interest to those who might be able to let themselves do what we're doing.

Okay, so here's how it goes. Only one of the barrels is half full of ashes. Haven't touched the second one at all.
All of our plastic bags or items that remotely are considered plastic bags (wrappers on toilet paper/paper towels) are deposited at the recycling bin at our local Kroger. Have been doing this for years.

Next, all the pull-rings from pop and canned goods are given to a friend who collects them for a charity. Also have been doing this for a long, long while.

Vegetation, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. are dumped in our compost pile. Been doing this forever, too. Feed the land, not the landfill.

What is left is paper stuff such as junk mail (plenty of that, and now no need for our paper shredder) cardboard food boxes, other paper containers and all the labels I remove from the canned goods, along with assorted plastic goodies such as milk cartons, etc.

Still, the first barrel is only half full of ashes.

How 'bout the glass and cans? Yeah, how 'bout them? Since June, we have yet to fill a 13-gallon kitchen wastebasket bag. At the rate things are progressing, it might be full by Christmas.

Now, bear in mind, I prepare 3 meals a day, make all our bread products, which means that we DO eat and consume goods and produce waste. But...I was surprised and shocked at how little we left behind.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 

blissful

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Katie, That sounds just about perfect, or as close to that as you can possibly be.

We also compost, rarely use anything in metal cans (since we can everything-glass jars), so the recycling is pretty empty most of the time.

Coming up with containers and plastic bags usually comes from my son that lives with us.
Bread bags-He buys bread sometimes, we reuse the plastic bags.
Mayo jars-- he buys mayo and a couple times a year some plastic dairy containers, which we wash and reuse for dehydrated goods.
Hot sauce containers--He buys hot sauce in containers, so now we're washing those and we made homemade hot sauce.
Tomato sauce--He buys plastic and glass tomato sauce, we reuse those jars.
Spice containers--I buy spices, and keep those containers for future dried herbs and teas.

I have boxes from teas, bags from flour--I haven't found a use for those.
Produce bags--Plastic bags from carrots and potatoes, we wash and use them.
Plastic clam shells--from produce, we use those for winter sowing in the spring.
Large plastic containers-- from produce we fill with produce from the garden and take it to the neighbors.

boxes--When we buy large cardboard flats of mushrooms or other produce on sale, we save the flats, then we stage ripening the peppers and tomatoes in them in the fall.

Vinegar gallons--get reused for homemade vinegar and for artesian well water (about 5 miles away).
Plastic molasses containers--are used for infused vinegars and stir fry sauce.

I don't like wasting money on bags ....for garbage, they are expensive and they go out in the trash!
 

Marlingardener

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We do not have access to recycling, so we have a commercial trash pick-up . To our credit, we have two compost piles (one working, one ready to be used) and try to use as little paper/plastic/ tin cans as possible. The trash bin is mostly empty when the trash is picked up.
Blissful, we use small glass jars for storing dried herbs from the garden, and larger ones for herbal vinegars. I'm so happy someone else is using those jars!
 

taxlady

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I have been saving spice jars and other small jars for so long that I have far more than I can use. I have started putting them in a plastic bag and will soon offer them in the local "buy nothing" group on Facebook. Sure, I could put them in the recycling, but someone probably has a use for my excess, especially the ones from spices and capers. The ones from capers are great for spices.
 

taxlady

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I have been thinking about starting to compost with worms. A friend used to do that. When she moved to a flat with a yard, she spread the worm compost in her yard. She got what I call "feral tomatoes" popping up everywhere she had put the worm compost. :ROFLMAO:
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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A worm box, placed in a cool, dark place, filled with shredded paper can be kept year round. Veggie scraps, i.e. potato peelings, carrot peals, past the prime lettuce, cabbage leaves, etc., all are eaten by the worms, In turn, they multiply, and produce worm casings, which is one of the best fertilizers you can get. The worms can be added to your compost pile, or laced into the garden soil to improve aeration, and make more worm casings. Or, if you like to fish, you have bait.

True story: As a youth of about ten years, it was my job to separate the trash, placing the paper products into the burn barrel, and the rest into the garbage can. One day, I got lazy and just threw everything into the burn barrel. There was a spray can in with the trash. It exploded. I ended up with stitches above my right eye.

If done correctly, those ashes also can be worked into the soil, and add great nutrients. Coffee grounds and shredded paper, along with grass clippings go into the compost pile, and turn into rich, organic matter. Sawdust from any wood processing mill is another great soil additive. /but you have to make sure that if you use pine, then you grow plants that like acidic soil.

Rotate your crop areas. Plant beans this year to fix nitrogen into the soil where you planted corn last year, that kind of thing.

Plant flowering plants that attract honey bees to you garden. Dandelions are great as an early food source in the spring, as they blossom early. A ground cover of clover, instead of grass is both attractive, and will also feed the bees. Wasps, if left alone, will keep pests down. Wintergreen provides leaves that make wonderful tea, are drought resistant, and produce delicious red berries. Though I truly love wild strawberries, they can take over a yard, and wasps, and yellowjackets feed on the juicy berries. Just be aware.

For best gardening results, look for edibles, and flowering plants native to your area. They developed to live in your climate, and soil types. You would be amazed at how many great native plants there are in you area.

I had amazing gardens at my home in Michigan. I wish I still lived those days. I still wish I could be nightcrawler picking with my dad.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

pepperhead212

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One problem with burning things, for many people, is the drought conditions in much of the country. Didn't used to be a problem in my area, but it was this year (until the last 4 days!), and even in areas that you didn't used to hear about fires (Pine Barrens is where we used to get them in Jersey), they were showing up all over, and people weren't being very smart about it!

I have recycling here, but it's only the #1 & #2 plastics that they recycle - the rest, are thrown out. And most plastic containers are 1 or 2, but not the lids! Every year they kept reducing what they recycle, when I see the list they send around - the rest, in the trash. Most in recycling is paper products.
I compost a lot, and re-use a lot of containers. Very few cans, especially in the last couple of years, with prices going up! And those vacuum seal bags I re-use all the time, unless meat was in them, or something like that. I put out trash only every couple of weeks - like these rainy days, I just figured that I'll wait until next week. Lawn trash is another thing - a lot of that goes out, as I don't compost anything that could spread disease, or weeds of many types, many of those plants that come out now, or like those thorny trimmings from my lime trees! Not much in the off-season, however.
 

Katie H

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We used to have recycling until people decided to abuse the bins and throw garbage into them, dead animals, etc. The bins were removed, so we rely on our own ingenuity.

And, yes, we do use produce bags for storing things like homemade bread and other yeast baked goods. Don't buy commercially-produced bread because I make all our stuff, so no bread bags.

We don't subscribe to any newspapers. The only subscription we have is Southern Living magazine. When done with them, they go to area senior centers for others to enjoy. Books and other print material comes from our local library and are returned as necessary. The library has a donation program which allows us to give some of our already-read books to it.
 
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pepperhead212

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That's another thing I do - put a few magazines I subscribe to over to a senior center right up the street from me. One guy in there that plays chess looks for me in the first part of each month. I have a lifetime subscription to Chess magazine - something I signed up for back in the Bobby Fisher era! I go through it every month, then drop it off there. Wood magazine comes bimonthly, about the same time. I stopped doing it when the pandemic started, but started again, just recently.
 

Badjak

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We don't really have much of a choice as there is no garbage collection at all.
Packaging quite often irritates me. Toothpaste still comes with the tube in a box. Trays of eggs are wrapped with about 2 metres of cling film etc.
Anyway, I compost all food scraps, I burn plastic, if it can't be re-used. Better I do it at high heat than the slow low creeping flames that are used at the municipal pit. Still need to get a good incinerator on the go.
I burn about once every 2 months, about a 20 litre loosely packed bucket full.
Cans (coconut milk/cream mainly) are re-used. They become shoes for everything wood in contact with the soil. Man, I hate termites!
Drink cans go to town where I dump them in the so-called recycling buckets. They will just end up in the general pit, but maybe one day it will work
I have a soda streamer and that saves buying tonic water for my g&t, but it's a 4-5 hour (one way) trip to get them filled.
I'm contemplating a big CO2 cylinder with soda stream filler attachment.
Anyway, I try ;)
 

GotGarlic

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I have been saving spice jars and other small jars for so long that I have far more than I can use. I have started putting them in a plastic bag and will soon offer them in the local "buy nothing" group on Facebook. Sure, I could put them in the recycling, but someone probably has a use for my excess, especially the ones from spices and capers. The ones from capers are great for spices.
Shops like this seem to be popping up lately, where you can refill jars with personal care or cleaning products, etc. They accept donations of small jars that they refill and sell, or people can bring their own jars. This is one near me; there might be one or more near you, too: https://golessthan.com/
 

taxlady

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Shops like this seem to be popping up lately, where you can refill jars with personal care or cleaning products, etc. They accept donations of small jars that they refill and sell, or people can bring their own jars. This is one near me; there might be one or more near you, too: https://golessthan.com/
Thanks for the idea. I'll try to find out if there is anything like that near me.

Decades ago, when I lived in town, the local health food store sold a lot stuff in bulk. They had stuff like rice, beans, herbs, and spices in bulk containers and you used their plastic bag and put a label on the bag. They also had oils and shampoo in bulk. If you didn't bring your own container, they charged a small amount to provide a container. If you brought your own container, you went to the cash and got it weighed before starting your shopping. They would put a tiny label with the number of grams that your container weighed, so it could be subtracted when you were having your stuff rung up. I suppose you could have brought your own container for the dry stuff and gotten that weighed too, but I didn't think of it and I never saw anyone do it.
 

hunanbadass1995

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Setting things on fire is not safe! particularly when there is tinder around. You don't want to light the whole place on fire do you? I thought not. Just PLEASE use a fire extinguisher if you have to. Break the glass it's easy
 

Katie H

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Setting things on fire is not safe! particularly when there is tinder around. You don't want to light the whole place on fire do you? I thought not. Just PLEASE use a fire extinguisher if you have to. Break the glass it's easy
We have set the barrels on concrete blocks on a gravel pad away from any trees and vegetation. There is a wire mesh that sits atop the barrel so no burned/burning items are sent aloft.
 

pepperhead212

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Thanks for the idea. I'll try to find out if there is anything like that near me.

Decades ago, when I lived in town, the local health food store sold a lot stuff in bulk. They had stuff like rice, beans, herbs, and spices in bulk containers and you used their plastic bag and put a label on the bag. They also had oils and shampoo in bulk. If you didn't bring your own container, they charged a small amount to provide a container. If you brought your own container, you went to the cash and got it weighed before starting your shopping. They would put a tiny label with the number of grams that your container weighed, so it could be subtracted when you were having your stuff rung up. I suppose you could have brought your own container for the dry stuff and gotten that weighed too, but I didn't think of it and I never saw anyone do it.
A couple of stores around here, that used to sell things in bulk, out of bins, or large jars, changed over to measuring them out in advance and labeling them, in small ziploc bags. It probably had something to do with the pandemic, where they didn't want people putting their hands in things (though some people have to touch every one of those bags - you know, the ones that have to touch everything in the produce and meat sections in supermarkets!). I don't know if they will switch back anytime - this is obviously more costly. The Mexican grocery still sells out of the barrels, so that's good.
 

taxlady

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A couple of stores around here, that used to sell things in bulk, out of bins, or large jars, changed over to measuring them out in advance and labeling them, in small ziploc bags. It probably had something to do with the pandemic, where they didn't want people putting their hands in things (though some people have to touch every one of those bags - you know, the ones that have to touch everything in the produce and meat sections in supermarkets!). I don't know if they will switch back anytime - this is obviously more costly. The Mexican grocery still sells out of the barrels, so that's good.
I think the health department may have banned the open bins. That chain of health food stores uses something like this. I have seen them elsewhere, e.g., for buying coffee beans.

4474149.jpg
 

GotGarlic

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I think the health department may have banned the open bins. That chain of health food stores uses something like this. I have seen them elsewhere, e.g., for buying coffee beans.

4474149.jpg
I think you're right. The Kroger where we shop used to have a half aisle of these dispensers, with coffee, dried fruit, nuts, candies, etc. Now they're all pre-packaged.
 

Katie H

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Our Kroger stores used to have bulk things, but when Covid came on the scene the dispensers were removed quickly and haven't been returned. As GotGarlic mentioned, there now are shelves of prepackaged goods. Same items that were in the dispensers. My only complaint with this method, shoppers (me) have to buy a set quantity. There were times when all I needed was just a smidge of an item.
 

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